Monday, October 5, 2009

My oldest memory

I think you readers will all get a much better idea of where I'm coming from if i give you a bit of history on myself and my family. Trust me - this is going to be a whole lot more interesting than it sounds. I will start as far back as I can remember and give it to you in installments and if i have anything exciting to say about my life now, I'll throw it in at the end. Prepare to be amused:

I grew up on a farm. My parents built our house and our garden from absolutely nothing while I was a year old and my mother was pregnant. Our house was nothing amazing because my parents weren't well off and they did everything they could to save money, including doing their own tiling (bearing in mind, my mother was pregnant). Once they had completed the job, they were very satisfied with their two bed roomed house complete with two bathrooms, kitchen, office and lounge. My brother was then born and we grew up in the house that our parents had built with two dogs and a lot of love. My family loved each other and had a lot of fun together but it's amazing how one takes these things for granted when all is going well. I learnt this lesson at an age far younger than most learn it.

I am not sure of my age when this incident happened, however, I know that I had not yet begun school so I was probably about Five years old. It was a Saturday. My mum was working in the city to earn extra money for the family as things had been tight for a while. A family friend came over, lets call her Sam and her three children who were younger than me. My brother and her eldest son were great friends and so we were thrilled to have company on our weekend. We were all playing in the paddling pool outside and having a marvelous time. It suddenly occur ed to me that we didn't have any towels and with my mum not being there to bring them out for us, we were going to have a herd of little wet footprints running through the house soon. So I went inside to get the towels. Now the towels stayed in a lockable closet at the end of the passage next door to my parent's room but it also had medicine in it, so the lock was placed at the top of the door so children couldn't get in there. I knew all I had to do was go into my parent's room, grab my mum's stool for height to open the cupboard to get the towels. I opened my parent's door - which was unusual as it was never closed - and hit a flexed foot, I pushed harder, not thinking and was faced with the sight of my father and Samantha naked on the edge of my parents bed. My dad asked me what I was doing and I told him I needed to get towels. He told me to ask the maid to open the room and that I must close the door behind me.

I didn't know what I'd seen. I didn't understand it. My mum was in the process of explaining the birds and the bees to us through a book called 'Where do I come from?' but I was so confused at that age because this book said that when a HUSBAND and WIFE love each other very much, they sleep together but Samantha wasn't my mother. You've also got to understand that I was a Daddy's girl. I adored my father - he could do anything, fix anything and make me laugh till I cried. So I didn't see anything wrong with what he was doing - I felt a little weird about what I'd seen but it didn't occur to me that what he was doing was wrong until I had fully processed the book that my mum was reading us. I thought all dads did this.

Once Sam and her children had left, Dad took me aside and told me not to tell my mum what I'd seen because "we don't want to hurt Mum, do we?" Of course I didn't want to hurt my Mum, that's the last thing any five year old would want to do. So I made this promise to my dad because I adored him and in my eyes, he could do no wrong and according to my knowledge, he had done no wrong. I made that promise with ease, not knowing that it would hang over me for the rest of my life. The betrayal of my mother. For years after this, I waited for the divorce, I waited for my mum to find out. I hated seeing Sam at any events, and there were a lot of them because of us being a farming community. I watched her whenever i could to see that she wasn't making a move on my dad in front of my mum but it killed me to look at her. She was awful looking. She had stringy dyed (died) orange hair and her face was prematurely aged from too much smoking and drinking. She was one of those woman that delighted in wearing short skirts and see-through shirts and "accidentally" leaning over too far in the bar in front of married men or letting her dress ride up too high. This chick was a beaut. Rumour has it that no one is sure who the father is of her third child that she had (when she was married) because of mismatched blood types that were discovered at a later stage. She has a smile which is more like a smirk. Its the smile that I grew to hate. She wore it when she saw my dad, or when she came over to "visit" when my mum was out.

For years after that Saturday, once I had figured out that what my Dad had done was wrong, I was subconsciously torn between telling my mum the truth of what i knew was wrong and breaking my word to my Dad or keeping my word and "not hurting Mum". I always felt the desperate need to get this situation off my chest so I'd open notebooks that I had to the middle (where no one would see it) and I'd write in my armature handwriting this story (obviously in far less detail) It basically just read "...and I saw Dad and Sam NAKED having SEX." I hated writing it but it always felt better once I didn't feel like I was carrying it all alone. Then I'd go off and do something and suddenly be filled with guilt and worry that my mum might see it, so I'd rush back inside and tear the page out and rip it into unrecognisably small pieces and the weight would fall upon me again. The burden was back and I was to carry it because I didn't want to hurt Mum.


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